Sikh spirituality rejects the notion of salvation (mukti) in the afterlife, says an author of five recently released books on the Sikh faith.
“The first thing that Gurbani does is to make clear that salvation or mukti in the afterlife is eliminated from Gurbani based spirituality,” says Dr Karminder Singh Dhillon in the latest video series on Sikhi Concepts (7/12).
The argument in the 35-minute video would fly in face of the understanding of a good number of Sikhs and would run contrary to prevailing preaching notes of many Sikh preachers.
The author of The Hijacking of Sikhi and Understanding Nitnem: Jup, Sodar and Sohela attempts to make his case with references to Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), the Sikh scripture.
So, then why does the word pops up in the SGGS? On this, he argues that Guru Nanak has redefined the spiritual concepts of what he terms as the 4,000 year-old canvas – referring to the prevailing teaching and thinking during the time of the Gurus – to suit the spirituality of Gurbani (literally: word of the Guru).
“So, while all the concepts of the old canvas are mentioned in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, they have all been given new meanings. If we intend to appreciate the Sikhi of Guru Nanak, we will need to understand the new meanings or the redefined meanings of the concepts as contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib,” he said.
In the seventh video in the series, Karminder begins the discussion with a discussion on a SGGS verse by Bhagat Namdev.
“The assertion by Bhagat Namdev is clear – the claim of obtaining salvation in the afterlife is baseless – it is made by people who have no real knowledge of it.
“In essence then, what Bhagat Namdev is saying is three things. One, that no one knows anything about this claim of salvation after death. Two, even the clergy who concocted this claim has no knowledge. And three that such a claim, including its conditions and processes, is an affront and outrage to the Creator and his creation,” he said.
Shared below are Gurbani verses, captured with their meaning as provided by the author, for ease of reference.
GURBANI VERSES DISCUSSED
VERSE 1. Bhagat Namdev from page 1292 of the SGGS.
ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥ ਏ ਪੰਡੀਆ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਢੇਢ ਕਹਤ ਤੇਰੀ ਪੈਜ ਪਿਛੰਉਡੀ ਹੋਇਲਾ ॥ 2 ॥
Muey Huey Jao Mukat Dehogey, Mukat Na Janey Koela. E Pandiya, Mo Ko Dhedhd Kahet Hai, Tayri Paij ichanodee Hoela.
Meaning: The Salvation that comes in the afterlife is something that no one knows anything about. The people who make claims of salvation – the clergy themselves- know nothing about it. This clergy claim that I am of a lowly caste in society (and as such unqualified for their Salvation). But by making such fake and concocted claims they are denigrating You O Creator and Your Creation.
ਥਾਕਾ ਤੇਜੁ ਉਡਿਆ ਮਨੁ ਪੰਖੀ ਘਰਿ ਆਂਗਿਨ ਨ ਸੁਖਾਈ ॥ ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥ 5 ॥
Thaaka Tej Udeya Mun Pankhee, Ghar Angan Na Sukhayee. Beni Kahey Sunho Re Bhagto, Maran Mukat Kin Payee.
Meaning: Human life has been wasted, the mind has not ceased wandering, and no inner contentment has been achieved. All in the pursuit of Salvation in the afterlife. Listen O Seekers of realization, no one has received salvation after death.
ਦੇਵਗੰਧਾਰੀ ੫ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਬਚਨ ਤੁਹਾਰੇ ॥ ਅਤਿ ਸੁੰਦਰ ਮਨਮੋਹਨ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਸਭਹੂ ਮਧਿ ਨਿਰਾਰੇ ॥ ੧ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲਾਰੇ ॥
Amrita Priya Bachan Tuhare. Aat Sundar Mumohan Pyare Sabhu Mudh Nirary. Rahao. Raaj Na Chaho, Mukat Na Chaho, Mun Preet Charan Kumlarey.
Meaning: I do not want the Kingdom of afterlife that is the heaven and I do not want the Salvation of afterlife that is offered in this heaven What I want is to be in devotion and love of my Creator Within in the here and now.
VERSE 4. Guru Ramdas ji on page 1324 of the SGGS
ਸੁਰਗ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਸਭਿ ਬਾਂਛਹਿ ਨਿਤਿ ਆਸਾ ਆਸ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਦਰਸਨ ਕੇ ਜਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਮਾਂਗਹਿ ਮਿਲਿ ਦਰਸਨ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਮਨੁ ਧੀਜੈ ॥
Surg Mukt Baikunth Sabh Bancheh, Nit Asa Asa Krejaiy. Har Kay Jun Mukt Na Manghey, Mil Darshan Tript Mun Dheejaiy.
Meaning: Everyone desires heaven and the Salvation that is promised within that heaven. They have such a desire on an everyday permanent basis. (But) Those desiring the realization of the Omnipresent Creator within do not desire that salvation.
VERSE 5. Guru Amardas ji page 440 of the SGGS:
ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੋਨੀ ਥਾਕੇ ਭੇਖੀ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਪਾਈ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤੀ ਜਗੁ ਬਉਰਾਨਾ ਸਚੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਮਿਲਾਈ ॥
Parrh Parrh Pandit Moni Thakay, Bheykhi Mukt Na Payi. Nanak Ben Bhagti Jag Baorana Scheiy Shabd Milayi.
Meaning: The clergy may tire of reading and reciting their scriptures and tire of their meditations and silent contemplations. Yet none will attain the promised salvation which is fake. Nanak, Sans the devotion of love for the Creator Within our spiritual world is devoid of sanity. The realization of the creator within is what matters – and that is achieved through the messages within the shabd
VERSE 6. Guru Arjun on page 294 of the SGGS.
ਓਹੁ ਧਨਵੰਤੁ ਕੁਲਵੰਤੁ ਪਤਿਵੰਤੁ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਜਿਸੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਭਗਵੰਤੁ ॥
Oh Dhanwant Kulwant Patwant, Jeevan Mukat Jis Ridhey Bhagwant.
He who realizes the Creator within has obtained salvation in the here and now. To obtain Salvation in the Here and now is to be spiritually enriched, spiritually elevated, and spiritually dignified.
VERSE 7. Guru Ramdas on page 449 of the SGGS.
ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਮਰਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਮਰੀਆ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਲਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਗੁ ਦੁਤਰੁ ਤਰੀਆ ॥ 2 ॥
Jeewan Mukat So Akheay, Mar Heevay Mareyaey. Jun Nanak Satgur Mel Har, Jug Dutar Tarey.
Meaning: One who had obtained spiritual life by the death of our vices has obtained Salvation or Mukti in the Here and Now.
VERSE 8. Guru Teg Bahadur ji on page 831 of the SGGS.
ਮਾਨ ਮੋਹ ਦੋਨੋ ਕਉ ਪਰਹਰਿ ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਕੇ ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵੈ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਕੋ ਪ੍ਰਾਨੀ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥ 2॥
Maan Moh Dono Ko Parhur, Gobind Key Gun Gavey. Kaho Nanak Eh Bidh Ko Pranee, Jeewan Mukat Khavey.
Meaning: Detach from the two root human vices of Ego and attachment and inculcate Divine virtues within. Nanak, this is the method towards obtaining Mukti in the Here and Now.
ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਆਤਮ ਹਿਤਾਵੈ ॥ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਸੋਊ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥ ਤੈਸਾ ਹਰਖੁ ਤੈਸਾ ਉਸੁ ਸੋਗੁ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਤਹ ਨਹੀ ਬਿਓਗੁ ॥
Prabh Kee Agiya Aatam Hitavey. Jiwan Mukat Souu Kahavey. Taisa Harakh Taisa Us Sog. Sda Anand Teh Nahi Biog.
MEANING: The acceptance with love and devotion of the hukm / command of the Creator is the pre-requisite of Salvation or Mukti in the Here and Now. (In such Mukti) One is no longer shackled in the bondage of temporal joys and temporal sorrows. And enjoys permanent bliss and permanent realization.
VERSE 10. Guru Arjun on page 275 of the SGGS.
ਜੋ ਵਰਤਾਏ ਸਾਈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਓਹੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥ ੭ ॥
Jo Vartaye Saee Jugat. Nanak Uh Purakh Kaheiyey Jivan Mukat.
Meaning: One in whose life the will and command of the Creator of the Creator is all that matters, that being, Nanak is described as having attained Mukti in the Here and Now.
VERSE 11. Guru Arjun on page 552 of the SGGS.
ਮਃ 5 ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਭੇਟਿਐ ਪੂਰੀ ਹੋਵੈ ਜੁਗਤਿ ॥ ਹਸੰਦਿਆ ਖੇਲੰਦਿਆ ਪੈਨੰਦਿਆ ਖਾਵੰਦਿਆ ਵਿਚੇ ਹੋਵੈ ਮੁਕਤਿ ॥ 2 ॥
Nanak Satgur Bhayteiy Puri Hovei Jugt. Hsandiyan Khaylandian Painandiyan Khavandian, Vichey Hoveiy Mukt.
The Salvation of Sikhi is to be achieved while living this life within this world in the parameters of a normal human life while performing all the normal functions of life – living life joyously– and living life by going through the motions and functions of life. Salvation is to be obtained WITHIN this life.
VERSE 12. Guru Arjun on page 498 of the SGGS.
ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਬੁਧਿ ਪਾਈ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਆਧਾਰੋ ॥ ਨਾਮਦੇਉ ਤ੍ਰਿਲੋਚਨੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਦਾਸਰੋ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਭਇਓ ਚੰਮਿਆਰੋ ॥ 2 ॥
Sadhsang Nanak Budh Payi Har Kirtan Aadharo. Namdeyo Tirlochan Kabir Dasro, Mukht Bhayeo Chamearo.
Through the process of association with and Kirtan of the Omnipresent Creator, Bhagats Namdev, Tirlochan and Kabir obtained Salvation even if they were all considered as belonging to the low castes.
Guru Arjun makes clear that while the conditions for Salvation or Mukti in the afterlife of the 4,000 year old canvas are such that it is NOT available for those of the lower castes – such is never the case with ਜੀਵਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ – the Salvation or Mukti of Gurbani.
SIKHI CONCEPTS VIDEO SERIES BY KARMINDER SINGH DHILLON
Part 1: Guru Nanak’s Canvas
Part 2: Death
Part 3: After Life
Part 4: 8.4 million (Chaurasi Lakh)
Part 5: Reincarnation
Part 6: Heaven and Hell
Part 7: Salvation in Afterlife (Mukti)
Part 8: Court of Judgement (Dargah)
Part 9: Dhrm Raj
Seeking heaven, fearing hell. What says Gurbani? (Asia Samachar, 15 Jan 2021)
Hijacking Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 19 Dec 2020)
Karminder talks about what shaped his thinking, and his latest books on Sikhi (Asia Samachar, 20 Nov 2020)